The Kump Center, 4-H Camp, YMCA and many other local institutions have benefited from the help of probationers from the North Central Community Corrections program. It is an idea that really makes good sense. When a person makes a mistake, jail should not be the only option judges have to choose.
Yesterday, while a probationer was painting an old gate at the Kump Center, we did a short interview. His name will not appear here for the sake of his privacy, but his answers will reveal some of the reasons why we need the Community Corrections program.
Q. What sort of crime do most of the Community Correction probationers commit?
A. Most are drug related. Possession of a controlled substance was mine.
Q. Tell me about yourself and your family: How old are you? Do you have children?
A. I'm 39 years old. I have a wife and three kids: a girl 13, a boy 11 and a boy 7. My girl is on the honor roll, and the older boy makes straight A's. The youngest has some anger management problems, but he is doing much better.
Q. Does the Community Correction program help you?
A. It really helps you a lot. It even helps you get work, but you have to pay $120 a month to cover the cost of drug testing, counseling and GED classes. My wife pays my fee. You have to finish your GED and pay all your fees to get out of the program.
Q. What income do you have for your family?
A. Not much. My wife makes $900 a month working for the Senior Center, and I make about $600 each month at odd jobs. This program really helps me, but I can't afford the fees.
Q. That means your family income is about $18,000 a year for a family of five. Do you have health care insurance?
A. No, the kids have a Medicare card, but my wife and I have no insurance. The hospital is after me to pay for injuries after a bike accident I had about three years ago. (The parents are trying to get Obamacare, but it will not cover an old accident.)
Q. I notice that you ride a bike to work here. Do you have a family car?
A. No, I ride the bike, but my wife and kids walk. She has to go out to the Elkins Manor for her job, and she walks there and back to her office. When I ride my bike, there's this guy that tries to run me off the road.
Q. In what ways has the Community Correction program helped you?
A. My head is clearer. My thinking is better. I'm drug free - don't even want weed.
What helped me is talking to my counselor. He really listens. Anytime I got a problem, I can talk to him. It has helped me with my thinking and behavior.
At The Kump Center, we have noticed this probationer is working very hard to make life better for his family. We are glad Community Corrections can give him a second chance.